Last night I met Paul Molitor at a fundraiser.
Molitor was a favorite of mine growing up. He was a member of the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers team that lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals – which was the very first World Series I remember watching, so it holds a special place in my heart.
Plus Molitor is also local guy, growing up just down the road in St. Paul. And he is a big supporter of the camp program I work for – donating his entire signing bonus in 1995 - over $100,000 – to help us buy our first permanent camp.
He also built the camp a ball field:
One of Molitor’s most famous accomplishments as a player was a 39 game hitting streak in 1987. For the baseball ignorant among you, that means he got a hit in 39 straight games – the fifth longest in the modern era.
The longest ever was Joe DiMaggio’s absolutely incredible 56 game streak in 1941. It is just one of those records that will never be broken.
Cricket has a couple of those – records that will never be broken – Sachin’s 100 centuries springs to mind, of course – but what the game does not have…is streaks. At least not at the individual level.
When Googling “cricket streaks” – Google thinks I want “cricket streaker” instead. Or wants me to read about Zimbabwean cricketer Heath Streak.
And so I did some thinking, and a bit of searching, and decided that the closet thing to a hitting streak in cricket – that I could come up with anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts – is consecutive Test innings without a duck.
The longest streak ever? 119 innings for David Gower from August of 1982 to December of 1990 – nearly decade without getting out for naught, that’s really amazing.
What’s even more interesting is who has the third longest streak: Sachin Tendulkar.
And the who is not the interesting part, the when is.
Sachin’s streak lasted from July of 2008 to November of…2013.
That’s right. Sachin’s streak of 91 straight innings without getting out for a duck did not end because he get out for a duck, it ended because he retired from Test cricket.
Truly amazing when you think about it. During the last five years of his Test career – as his skills at the crease supposedly were in decline* – he did not get out for naught.
Not once. In 91 straight innings.
Even after his retirement, he still doesn’t cease to amaze.
Anyway, here’s Paul Molitor and me:
Hey look, it’s me and Paul Molitor at Holiday in the Heartland. pic.twitter.com/E34qtSvmCx
— Matt Becker (@matthewtbecker) December 12, 2013
*EDIT: His prowess with the bat did not start to – relatively and subjectively – go downhill until after the 2011 World Cup. I did not mean to imply otherwise. See comments*